Chief White Home medical adviser Anthony Fauci mentioned on Tuesday that his just lately introduced choice to step down from his authorities positions was by no means affected by threats of investigations from congressional Republicans.
Fauci on Monday introduced that he could be stepping down from his positions as each President Biden’s chief medical adviser and director of the Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Ailments in December of this yr.
A number of GOP lawmakers have vowed to launch investigations into Fauci over his actions all through the COVID-19 pandemic in the event that they win again management of Congress within the midterm elections.
CNN chief White Home correspondent Kaitlan Collins requested Fauci Tuesday how a lot these threats of investigations performed a task in his choice to finish his decades-long tenure in authorities.
“None in any respect, Kaitlan. Actually none in any respect, not even a slight quantity,” Fauci mentioned. “I’ve nothing to cover and I might defend every part I’ve carried out. In order that doesn’t faze me or hassle me. My selections of stepping down return properly over a yr.”
Fauci additional mentioned that he had initially thought of stepping down on the finish of the Trump administration, however stayed on on the request of Biden.
“I assumed that was going to final a few yr, that we’d be having COVID behind us after a yr. However clearly, painfully so, that’s not the case,” he mentioned.
The longtime authorities official added that he felt it was the correct time to go away his positions “since I’m nonetheless wholesome, energetic and enthusiastic about what I need to do. And I believe that’s the time to maneuver on to the following part.”
Fauci’s announcement didn’t deter lawmakers from planning potential future inquiries, with a number of Republican leaders vowing to nonetheless pursue investigations into the highest infectious ailments professional even when he’s not working for the federal government.
Collins requested Fauci if he would agree to sit down for hearings and seem earlier than Congress after he steps down if Republicans have been to make such a request.
Fauci mentioned he would “definitely” contemplate the request.
“However you’ve obtained to recollect, I imagine oversight is a vital a part of authorities construction and I welcome it and might be productive. However what has occurred thus far is extra of a personality assassination than it’s oversight,” he mentioned.
“So certain, I’d be pleased to cooperate as long as we make it one thing that may be a dignified oversight, which it ought to be, and never simply mentioning ridiculous issues and attacking my character. That’s not oversight.”
—Up to date at 1:08 p.m.